Jamie Smith, tbnewswatch.com
Darrell Matson provides an update Thursday morning.
Even with rain in the weekend forecast, the city is hoping Monday will bring some good news as crews continue to deal with a flooded treatment plant.
There are currently two pumps operating at the Atlantic Avenue treatment plant. Another one is expected to be installed over the weekend, one is in the shop and the final pump and motor are being prepared to be pulled out of the plant Thursday.
The two pumps currently online are working well, said infrastructure manager Darrell Matson.
“We have enough capacity to treat more than what is currently coming into the plant so again the trunk sewers continue to be reduced to their normal operating level,” he added Thursday morning.
If the forecasted rain is not intense, the city will be revisiting its water restrictions Monday. It would also reconsider opening places like the Canada Games Complex. Heavy rain though is still a concern for the plant.
“If we have little bits of rain over a long period of time we don’t think that’s going to pose a problem. If we have big thundershowers and a major deluge of water in a short period of time that’s where our biggest issues would be,” Matson said.
Data shows that people have been reducing the amount of water being sent down drains. From a week before the flood to the week after, Matson said there are days where people have reduced the amount of water by six megalitres.
“There is definitely a week over week or day over day reduction,” he said.
While those numbers are reduced, the Red Cross is expecting an increase in the amount of people looking for shelter at Lakehead University.
There are currently 31 beds being used at the school. Spokesman David St. Georges said a lot of seniors who have registered are now willing to take advantage of the shelter.
Red Cross numbers show that more than 5,600 man hours have been put in by 124 volunteers so far.
“This is one of the largest volunteer operations in regards to response in one city we’ve had in a few years,” St. Georges said.
Around 460 people have requested help from the city’s safe home program to clean up basements. While 80 homes have been cleaned so far, with another 40 expected Thursday, the city is still having trouble reaching some homeowners who initially contacted the city for assistance.
The city is still waiting to hear from the province on whether Thunder Bay, Oliver-Paipoonge and Conmee will be declared disaster areas.
The municipalities have submitted applications and an answer is expected Friday. The declaration would make the municipalities eligible for funding to help pay for programs like the safe homes initiative and other clean up and damage.
City manager Tim Commisso said the city is confident a disaster will be declared. Getting funding another way should the province not declare the area a disaster hasn’t been decided.
“We expect with the scope and scale of this disaster that we will be declared,” Commisso said.
“If we thought anything different we’d have another plan but at the same time we’re moving forward on the basis that we will be declared.”
Mayor Keith Hobbs agreed. He thanked everyone in the city’s effort so far.
“Monday hopefully we’ll have some good news for you. We’re going to pray that we don’t get that rain this weekend that’s going to make things a lot better,” he said.